Mark 11:31
And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say, Why then did you not believe him?
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11:27-33 Our Saviour shows how near akin his doctrine and baptism were to those of John; they had the same design and tendency, to bring in the gospel kingdom. These elders did not deserve to be taught; for it was plain that they contended not for truth, but victory: nor did he need to tell them; for the works he did, told them plainly he had authority from God; since no man could do the miracles which he did, unless God were with him.See the notes at Matthew 20:23-27. Mr 11:27-33. The Authority of Jesus Questioned—His Reply. ( = Mt 21:23-27; Lu 20:1-8).

See on [1480]Mt 21:23-27.

See Poole on "Mark 11:29" And they reasoned with themselves saying,.... Privately; perhaps, they withdrew at a little distance for a short time, and consulted among themselves what answer to return; and the amount of their reasonings were this;

if we shall say from heaven, he will say, why then did ye not believe him? that is, should they say that John had a divine commission for what he said and did, they were aware that Christ would reply, why did not ye give credit to him? and had you done so, seeing he testified of me, you would have had no occasion to have put the above question; See Gill on Matthew 21:25.

And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say, Why then did ye not believe him?
Mark 11:31-32 give their inward thoughts as divined by Jesus. Their spoken answer was a simple οὐκ οἴδαμεν (Mark 11:33).Verses 31, 32. - They reasoned with themselves, like men anxious and perplexed. If we shall say, From heaven; he will say, Why then did ye not believe him? For he told you I was the promised Messias, and bade you prepare yourselves by repentance to receive my grace and salvation. But should we say, From men - they feared the people: for all verily held John to be a prophet. This is a broken sentence, but very expressive. The evangelist leaves his reader to supply what they meant. They deemed it prudent not to finish the sentence; and probably cut it short with some significant gesture. They did not like to confess that they feared the people; although this was the true reason why they hesitated to say that John's baptism was of men. They knew that all the people held John to be a prophet. They were thus thrown on one or other horn of a dilemma.
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